Saudi Arabia will fine couples $130,000 for snooping through each others’ texts

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REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

  • Saudi Arabia has taken steps to criminalize citizens who snoop through their spouses’ phones.
  • The new law imposes fines of up to $130,000 or jail time for for the offense.
  • The initiative is part of the Crown Prince’s efforts to modernize the Kingdom economically and socially with his Vision 2030 plan.

Saudi Arabia has taken steps to punish citizens who snoop on their spouses’ phones.

The Kingdom announced on Monday that it has begun enforcing a new law that imposes steep fines or jail time on married individuals who snoop on their spouse’s mobile phone.

According to the new law, “spying on, interception or reception of data transmitted through an information network or a computer without legitimate authorization” is now prohibited. Accessing a spouse’s computer “unlawfully” with the intention to threaten or blackmail another person is also a criminal offense under the new Anti-Cybercrime law.

Married lawbreakers could face a fine of up to $133,000 (500,000 riyals), a year in prison, or both.

The government says the new laws help protect individual’s privacy and preserve the rights of internet users. The anti-snooping laws are part of an increased focus on cyber crime and hacking – and the Crown Prince’s efforts to modernize the Kingdom economically and socially with his Vision 2030 plan.

Saudi Arabia recently lifted a decades-old ban on cinemas in the country, showing the Kingdom is open to modernization. It has also moved to advance some level of gender equality, granting women the right to drive in July 2017, and allowing them to go to sports stadiums to watch soccer games for the first time.